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President's Column

By James W. Porter II, President

The “Weapons of War” Big Lie

“Weapons of war.”

That’s the latest word-picture painted by the gun-ban crowd to scare the public into supporting all manner of gun control. “Weapons of war” is a term especially designed to divide gun owners.

Unless we each educate less politically astute friends, it might just work.

I was recently approached by a bird hunter of considerable skill. His favorite shotgun? A slick, vintage, nickel steel, 12-gauge, Winchester Model 12. At the end of the pleasantries, he asked, “Why on earth should people be permitted to have weapons of war?”

I was a bit stunned. I asked him if he still had his prized Winchester pump.

He said, “Yes. It will go to my son.”

“You realize the Model 12 has a long history of service in the U.S. military, and as such is clearly ‘a weapon of war’ and might someday be banned,” I replied.

Before he could react, I asked if he owned a 1911. He nodded that he did.

He agreed with me that the 1911 is arguably the most effective sidearm ever fielded by all branches of the U.S. military.

“You know, by any practical definition, it is ‘a weapon of war,’” I said.

Then I asked, “So what weapon of war is it that you want banned? The M1 Garand? The ’03 Springfield? The 1917 Enfield? The S&W M&P revolver? The trapdoor Springfield? The P-38, the Webley-Fosbery automatic revolver, the broomhandle Mauser or the Luger? The 1896 Swedish Mauser?”

This man owns many of those guns—all “weapons of war.”

He actually started laughing, then mumbled something about the AR-15.

The “black rifle” is the most popular long gun in America. It is not, as Obama and Feinstein declare, “on our streets,” it is in the homes of millions of ordinary, peaceable Americans. Furthermore, semi-automatic long guns are not, as Sen. Feinstein might claim, the favorites of urban killers.

For me this phony question of “weapons of war” is very personal. I grew up going to Camp Perry and other high-power venues with my father, Irvine Porter, who was a Distinguished Marksman. I was surrounded by the best people you would ever meet, all competing most peaceably with “weapons of war.”

Then, the dominant rifle at Camp Perry was the M1. Today it’s the AR-15.
Keep in mind that arguing the difference between the select-fire M16 and the AR-15 is a sticky trap. It belies the real effort of the gun-ban crowd to create definitions for banned guns that are ever-expanding.

Gun owners who don’t possess AR-15s or AKs or SKSs or Ruger Mini-14s or FALs—countless versions of which have been banned in California, and now in Connecticut and New York—need to understand that whatever guns they own will someday fall under that “weapons of war” definition.

In truth, any firearm is a weapon of war in the hands of people making war.

As a youngster, I remember photos of then-revolutionary Fidel Castro with a scoped high-grade FN bolt gun. Clearly a weapon of war.

Take a look at your personal guns. The Remington M700 is in the service inventories as the preferred “sniper rifle.” By the Feinstein/Obama expandable definition, the M700 is a “weapon of war.”

And there is the question of pedigree. And pedigree is at the center of the M16/AR-15 big lie.

The M700’s pedigree goes back to the World War I Remington-produced Pattern 14 which became the U.S.1917 Enfield. After the war, the action became the Model 30, then the 30S, then in 1941, the 720, then after the war, the 721 and 722 morphed into today’s Remington M700.

“Weapons of war”—from Springfield and Enfield rifled muskets, to Remington rolling blocks and Krags—were sold by the hundreds of thousands to countless Americans by brokers such as Bannerman’s in New York.

Then there are the hundreds of thousands of U.S. military small arms—from ’03 Springfields, to 1917 Enfields, to M1 carbines, to Garands and 1911s—sold to law-abiding civilians under the Director of Civilian Marksmanship beginning in the 1930s. Surplus M1s were sold to civilians at the same time that remarkable rifle was still in service.

“Weapons of war.”

Next time the subject comes up, don’t argue minutiae of technical differences between true “assault rifles” and semi-auto rifles or magazine capacity. Argue this simple truth: Most firearms owned by Americans today are directly or indirectly related to “weapons of war,” subject someday, on that basis, to the ban lists of the likes of Bloomberg, Feinstein and Obama.